*THE DOWNLOAD IS AN ONGOING SERIES WITH ARPR’S TECH CLIENTS
Last year, healthIT marketers had to turn challenges into opportunities and reinvent their marketing strategies as the pandemic immediately impacted healthcare providers and forever altered the industry. After the initial impact subsided, we were curious what marketing leaders had learned. So, in October 2020, ARPR polled them and found that 54% planned to allocate the majority of their marketing dollars to healthcare content marketing in the new year ahead.
To see if content is still king for healthcare communications teams half-way through 2021, we recently sat down with Ash Babbitt, director of communications, Health Services at EverCommerce. In 2020, EverCommerce acquired ARPR client Updox. Since then, we’ve had the pleasure of continuing our three-year partnership with the Updox brand and Ash. Here’s what she had to say.
QUESTION: What drew you to the healthIT industry and to your current role at Updox?
ANSWER: Most of my career has focused on working in communications for healthcare and human services organizations, including 13 years with a large, multi-hospital system. For all its incredible benefits, compassion and science - healthcare can be a frustrating industry for both providers and patients. Through my work, I heard about the challenges physicians face as they run their businesses. I also personally know the frustrations that patients experience. Healthcare has so many unnecessary, tiresome processes in the way that it works - phone tag, waiting on hold, constant paperwork or waiting for results. With Updox - I realized an immediate opportunity to alleviate frustration on both sides. Most recently, through the pandemic, I saw and heard how much our solutions could help the system and offer respite & hope, or just give something back to those providers who were giving their all to protect us and for patients who were scared but needed care.
QUESTION: You’ve worked with ARPR for over three years now. With that perspective in mind, what’s most critical to you in an agency relationship?
ANSWER: For me, a great business partnership comes down to knowledge and trust and those are two things I’ve found consistently through our work with ARPR. First, they are true industry experts. Our ARPR team is highly focused on healthcare IT - they know our audience, our prospects and our target media. They are up-to-speed on where the industry is headed and how we can move quickly to share our thought leadership. That insight gives everyone in our organization so much confidence in their ideas and suggestions. Our leadership sees the value they offer and will ask “What does ARPR say about that?” or “Let’s run that through ARPR.” As a result of their skill and insight - they’ve more than earned our trust. They get that their success is tied closely to ours.
In addition to being knowledgeable, they are also creative and just plain fun. They aren’t afraid to go outside of the box. Calls and meetings with them are enjoyable. They are like this jazzy toolbox I have to brainstorm, bounce ideas around and deliver outstanding results. I think we’ve all had agency relationships in the past where we have to educate and re-educate our partners about our organization. I’ve never had to do that with ARPR. They get us. They get healthcare. They get our messages and they get us great results.
QUESTION: The healthIT industry dramatically increased its focus on content marketing last year to meet the changing needs of healthcare providers. How do you think this pivot has impacted marketing ROI, and what are some lessons learned that Updox is implementing in 2021?
ANSWER: The past year showed me that you have to keep digging for the right angle. When COVID shut down tradeshows and travel and face-to-face opportunities, everyone turned to content marketing but you had to be creative to break through that chatter and make it meaningful. This wasn’t the time to be too off-the-wall. We needed very targeted, data-driven content and strong customer stories to illustrate quickly how Updox can deliver results and offer value to our customers. A straightforward, direct approach, with data to back up our messages, was key for us and how we’re moving through 2021.
QUESTION: What’s the most dramatic shift you’ve seen over the last year in your prospects’ buyer behaviors? Do you see anything changing as we emerge from the pandemic, or is this the new normal for purchasers of healthcare software?
ANSWER: Our customers see a definite value in virtual care. Prior to the pandemic - most providers might have considered telehealth, but hadn’t put any type of virtual care solution into action. Now, they see the value it offers - the money and the time savings - and how it benefits both patients and healthcare staff. It doesn’t take away from the trusted physician/patient relationship - it actually strengthens it. That has been a huge thought shift. Now, as a patient, I don’t want to wait on hold to get my test results. Instead, I want them sent to me via secure text. People are selecting their healthcare providers based on the same conveniences they receive from other businesses. When you take that new consumerism and then align it with savings in time and money for the practice - it has opened the eyes of our prospects to how technology can benefit their work.
QUESTION: If you had a crystal ball into 2022, how significant of a role will content marketing continue to play? What content marketing trends will have the biggest impact on healthIT companies as they continually seek to engage today’s busy providers?
ANSWER: I see content marketing continuing to play a big role in making introductions to prospects and showing the value that our services offer. The pieces we’ve created with ARPR provide a great mix of industry data and actual customer use cases. Our audience loves research and data but they don’t just want to hear from us that the product works. They want to know we understand their pains, we offer proven solutions to alleviate those and our customers verify that the products deliver on what we say they can do.
Click here to learn more about how ARPR’s healthIT practice group helps healthcare clients like Updox via an integrated approach to public relations.